IRVING, Texas – Camera crews don't double at Valley Ranch every time a practice squad player gets signed.
But the Cowboys players inside the locker room don't appear to mind the added attention paid to new addition Michael Sam. They just care if he can play football.
As the first openly gay player in the league, Sam's going to garner a lot of attention. But the attention within the locker room from the players is all football-related. Dez Bryant said Sam deserves respect just like any other teammate, and he's going to treat him as he would any other player fighting for a spot on the roster.
"He deserves the same respect as anybody else, so that's what we're going to give him," Bryant said, "and play football."
Bryant said owner/general manager Jerry Jones gave him and other leaders on the team a heads up that Sam would be signed, and Bryant expects all his teammates will show him respect as they would any other addition.
He said the team will continue to focus on football, and whatever Sam needs, his teammates will be there for him. Bryant said he doesn't see a reason to make it a bigger deal than that, and that's likely how Sam wants it.
"I'm the type of person, I'm not going to judge anybody or do nothing like that," Bryant said. "You need any help, ask me about anything, I'm going to let you know.
"No different from any other player, he's here to help us. That's why we brought him here." [embedded_ad]
The rest of the Cowboys players voiced similar opinions about welcoming Sam as a football addition. Jason Witten said there's been so much of an investment in preparing for an NFL season that that's where the focus is and has to be.
"I don't really see that being any distraction, and I think everybody understands it's just in hopes of making our football team better," Witten said. "That's all we can try to do, for all of us. Really, that's been our mindset since Day 1. We're going to compete. We're going to challenge each other. We're going to practice hard. And then hopefully that carries over to Sundays, where we play better football."
Here's more from Cowboys players after the signing of Sam to the practice squad:
Jeremy Mincey: "Sam is a pretty good athlete, man – he's got some pretty good rushes. He listens to what coach wants, and that's all we can ask of him. Come out here and cooperate and do what he's supposed to do."
J.J. Wilcox – "I'm excited. He's a great football player. I don't take nothing away from him, and I have nothing against him. If he can help me win, I'm all in."
Anthony Spencer – "Every time I've seen him, he's been playing football. When I watch film, he's doing things that can help this football team win games. He's here to help us win – that's the main objective, and that's all there is to it."